Pesto Tuna Panini

When it comes to sandwiches, I’m a little picky. I am completely bored by a regular ‘ol sandwich like pb+j or a grilled veggie sandwich. But when it comes to big, bulky, piping hot pressed paninis? Show me to them. I like when sandwiches are stuffed with all sorts of fillers and grilled to perfection. So when Cuisinart sent me a brand new griddler for the most recent #kitchentool chat on twitter, (makes great paninis, pancakes, and grilled foods!) I had one thing in mind: Paninis. Better yet: Sun dried tomato tuna with pesto paninis. Yum.

If I was going to go all out and have homemade paninis, I may as well have home made bread, right? I successfully baked my second ever loaf of bread. This time, I used the Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Bread mix. It came out of the bread machine completely top heavy and absolutely bursting out of the machine! I have no idea why. Any ideas? Maybe the mix was meant for a bigger bread machine. I literally had to scrape dried bread from the inside of the machine because it got so big:

homemade bread

That picture doesn’t do it justice. It was like there was a balloon in the top! I was nervous it’d be under baked on the inside but it was absolutely perfect:

homemade whole wheat bread

To make the sandwich filling, I started by making some basic basil pesto using some way-overdue basil leaves, about 1/3 cup walnuts, some olive oil and a pinch of salt. Blended a bit in the vitamix, I left it a little chunky:

walnut pesto

Next I prepared the tuna using 2 cans of tuna packed in water, some canola oil mayo (which doesn’t use eggs), and about 4 heaping tablespoons of sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil. All mixed together:

sundried tomato tuna

To the panini press they went:

panini press

I layered the bread with a bit of shredded soy cheese and the tuna on one side. The basil pesto spread on the other, then pressed them together and grilled on medium:

open sandwiches

Here they all all cozy in their toasty warm griddler for about 5 minutes.

pressed tuna sandwich

And the final sandwich:

pesto tuna sandwich

The verdict? Delicious! I had never put sun dried tomatoes in tuna before. Usually I’m a diced celery, green relish or even mustard kinda gal but I loved their flavor. Pesto makes a perfect sandwich spread and it’s even better when it’s freshly made. And the bread? Well you can’t beat homemade bread. I love how this mix had little bits of nuts and whole grains throughout.

What’s your favorite filling in a pressed panini?


  1. Krista
    Posted January 17, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    When I had a bread maker, I found that baking the bread in the oven made a cleaner loaf — and then I converted to grinding my own berries using the Vitamix dry container and a mixer to do the rest. I make my own pesto with pecans as well. Love your posts — gives me an inspiration to use the homemade pesto in a sandwich instead of on pasta!

  2. Posted January 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    This looks delicious!
    I can’t say no to the classic..tomato and mozzarella! It is my favorite pressed sandwich!

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